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The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    It’s a Jungle Out There

    ‘Sure, you can prevent dental rot…but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a jungle out there!’

    Sandra Bernhard leans back the microphone with these words, the band hits a hot chord, and, before you know it, Bernhard is performing (a vastly improved) version of Guns n’ Roses’ immortal, ‘Welcome to the Jungle.’

    Despite beginning the show 40 minutes late (due to Bernhard and her band getting stuck on the Long Island Expressway in Friday evening traffic), the Staller Center for the Arts performance of ‘Sandra Bernhard is Plan B from Outer Space’ and her (all-male) rock band The Rebellious Jezebels was worth the wait.

    Searing satire, biting commentary, delicious bitching and raspy, melodic, wall-shaking singing were all a part of Bernhard’s sexy, salacious and supremely entertaining performance.

    After anxiously wondering for 40 minutes why patrons were not being allowed into the auditorium, everyone was finally seated and awaited the entrance of the star of the show, whose past performances include, among many, a part on the show ‘Roseanne’ in the ’90s, guest performances on ‘Ally McBeal’ and ‘Will & Grace,’ as well as a one-woman Broadway show, ‘I’m Still Here…Damn It!’

    The band entered quietly, almost self-consciously; the lights dimmed; and a sultry woman’s voice slowly filled the performance hall. Finally, the spotlight opened on Sandra Bernhard herself, standing at a side entrance, dressed elegantly in a short white dress, black stockings, and shiny, patent leather Manolo Blahniks that would become part of her running commentary on stage (she prefers them to her Stella McCartney ‘vegan’ shoes).

    Self-consciously channeling the songs of Motown and the recent ‘Dream Girls’ film, Bernhard opened the show with typical chutzpah, her resonant voice singing first Motown, then changing to Brandy’s ‘The Boy is Mine,’ while also including audience members in a hilarious parody of old relationship woes.

    After climbing back on stage (almost literally), Bernhard began her satire show, starting with her hatred for whiny bloggers, and ending nearly an hour later with scathing ironic comments on various mailings and pamphlets advertising luxury condos and ‘survival’ living (which included commentary on dental preservation).

    In between, Bernhard, obviously at home on a stage and committed to off-the-cuff remarks in addition to the prepared routine, managed to remark hilariously on any number of topics, ranging from Angelina Jolie’s commitment to make sure her son Maddox’s feet never touch the ground, to a fantasy-situation of what she’d like to do to George ‘Veto Corglione’ Bush given the chance (which included a revolver and some KY Jelly).

    The show concluded with energetic rock ‘n’ roll, as well as a costume change for Bernhard. After leaving the stage for a minute, she re-emerged in a Halloween costume parody of a police officer, complete with cap, badge, and cosmic silver boots.

    Never averse to ‘telling it how it is,’ cursing, or shaking her booty, Sandra Bernhard gave a smashing performance that left the audience energized and entertained, not to mention reminded that there are some performers and entertainers left who are still willing to create a performance suffused with both hilarious insights and subversive social and political commentary.

    Kudos to the Staller Center for getting Bernhard to come out to SBU. We can only hope that her run-in with rush-hour traffic will not deter her from coming out to SBU in the future.

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